10 Frequently Asked Vintage Silver Questions

Pin It
Vintage silver flatware

Don't worry if it doesn't all match. Unless you point it out, no one else will even notice.

How do people find Silver Magpies on the web?

Here are 10 searches that people type into Google and then end up on my site. Most of these are variations on a theme that is repeated over and over again.

As they are such frequently asked vintage silver questions, I thought I’d share them and give an answer.

1. Can I leave a sterling silver sugar shell in sugar bowl?

Yes.  Sugar will not corrode silver.  However, don’t leave your spoons in a salt dish.  Salt will corrode your silver.

2. Can I use a butter knife to cut the cake?

Yes! Absolutely. This is one of my favorite ways to re-purpose vintage silver pieces that might not see a lot of use otherwise.  Sticks of butter on the table are a rarity in our house. Don’t be limited by the name of the piece, it’s just a name.

3. Can I wrap sterling silver in saran wrap?

No, please don’t do that. Long term storage can include a plastic bag ONLY if the silver is completely wrapped in silver cloth first. Vintage silver and plastic wrap are not a match made in heaven.

4. Can you have a 4 letter monogram?

Yes. In fact you can have a monogram however you like. Monograms are very personal, don’t feel bound by traditional perceptions of what a monogram should be.  Many of these “traditions” were invented in Victorian times – look at a range of monograms and you’ll see they vary immensely according to personal taste.

5. Does silverware tarnish after it has been polished?

It all depends on what you do next. If you leave it out and don’t touch it for the next year, yes you are going to notice a build-up of tarnish.

If you put it away in appropriate storage – ie a silver chest or protector of some kind – this will slow down the tarnish significantly.

If you use it on a regular basis once you polish it, tarnish will not have a chance to build up. The act of washing/cleaning your silverware will prevent tarnish (which is caused by a reaction of silver to sulfur in the air) from occurring.

6. How do I know its monogrammed silver?

Sterling Silver Napkin Ring

Monograms are usually quite obvious. Click photo for details about this piece.

It will have an engraving of an initial or initials on it.

7. How do you know how much silver is in English silver?

English silver (as long as it has all the English Silver Hallmarks on it) is guaranteed to be sterling – i.e. 92.5% silver to 7.5% copper.

8. How much silver is in weighted pieces?

Unfortunately until you actually disassemble a piece of weighted silver you can’t tell.  But the amount is probably going to be a lot less than you think!

9. Is it OK to have mixed silverware vs a set?

Yes it is! Again, don’t feel constrained by tradition and the right way of doing things. I mix and match vintage silverware all the time. Don’t worry if you don’t have a complete set. The important thing is your table is set how you like! And believe me, no one is going to examine all the place settings to make sure they match.

My silverware is the little black dress of my home’s decor.

10. Is nickel silver as valuable as sterling silver?

Short answer – No!

This is an excellent question and a trap that many people unknowingly fall into.

Longer answer – nickel silver is not silver at all. Unlike other silver standards of fineness, such as American coin silver or continental 800 silver, nickel silver is a look-alike only. Silver plate has more silver than nickel silver!


Did you know the answer to all these frequently asked vintage silver questions? Are there some questions you’d like to see answered?

Pin It